Bryan Sheehan: 'It will be an intriguing Championship'
By Cian O’Connell
Bryan Sheehan acknowledges that it will be strange to be simply part of the crowd in Killarney on Sunday, but a certain charm still exists for the Kerry footballer.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s team face Clare in a Munster Semi-Final at Fitzgerald Stadium and Sheehan is intrigued by what approach the home team will adopt.
“I think Eamonn introduced a lot of new faces to the Kerry team in the League campaign so it will be interesting to see what he is going to go with on Sunday,” Sheehan says.
“Will he continue on with the youth? Is he going to bring back experienced players? Is he going to try to amalgamate the youth and experienced players together?
“I'm really looking forward to seeing what he is going to do because at the moment I think Kerry are a bit of an unknown quantity. You just don't know what way they are going to go at the moment.”
Sheehan hopes that a demanding public down south will afford Kerry’s youngsters time to deliver at the highest level. Decorated figures such as Aidan O’Mahony, Marc O Se, Colm Cooper, Paul Galvin, and Sheehan are amongst those no longer involved in the set-up following several retirements.
“The one thing about Kerry is that there is always expectation,” Sheehan admits. “The expectation in Kerry is that Kerry have to win an All Ireland.
"I think there needs to be a small realisation that the likes of Aidan, Marc, Gooch, myself have been around for a long time and all of a sudden you have all that experience has left within the space of maybe two or three seasons.
“You just have to be patient with these young fellas. They need time. I know they have won All Ireland minors, but being an inter-county footballer is a different level compared to playing minor.
“The expectations are still high in Kerry, but people just need to be careful with what their expectations are.
“People can't be thinking that David Clifford is going to go out to shoot 3-3 or 3-4 like he did with the Kerry minors last year. People need to realise this is a big step up for David, to give him time and not to expect him to do it at this level.”
An interested spectator for the opening weeks of the Championship Sheehan is relishing the new All Ireland Quarter-Final format. “You play more games in the summer months, not having a prolonged four week gap between games which is just filled with training and training,” Sheehan states.
“I think the players really look forward to that, but the other side is that it will be tough having to play Championship football four or five weeks on the trot. That is where the panels will come in and where you will find out what panel you have.
“It is important you have fellas coming in having experienced the League, who are able to hit the ground running when called upon. It will be different.”
Watching how Carlow and Longford have fared in recent weeks Sheehan feels that Kerry will need to be wary of Clare, who continue to make strides under Colm Collins.
“It has been a good start to the Championship when you see the likes of Carlow overturning Kildare and Longford beating Meath,” Sheeham remarks.
“That gives a warning to Kerry going into Sunday, they can't take their eye off the ball against Clare because Clare held their own in Division Two.
"They finished third or fourth and were in a good position in Division Two. That will give a warning to Kerry because a lot of teams can beat each other on a given day.
"It will be an intriguing Championship and the Super 8s is something to really look forward to.
“From a Kerry perspective I'm just looking forward to seeing how they are going to line out and with what system of play.”